Banyana Banyana managed a hard fought 1–0 win over the Harambe Starlets of Kenya in 2016 Rio Olympic Games qualifier played at the Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday.

The South African Senior Women’s National Team (Banyana Banyana) managed a hard fought 1–0 win over the Harambe Starlets of Kenya in 2016 Rio Olympic Games qualifier played at the Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday, 18 July 2015.

The match was the first leg of Round 3.

MaIndies player, Lebohang Ramalepe scored the only goal of the match late in the second half.

Banyana Banyana were missing USA-based striker Jermaine Seoposenwe and goalkeeper, Roxanne Barker who plays in Iceland.

Vera Pauw’s charges created a lot of chances in the opening minutes of the game but could not convert them. The home side started picking up the momentum towards the half-hour mark.

Midfielder Silindile Ngubane got a chance in the 25th minute after some great combination play with Shiwe Nogwanya upfront, but nothing came of the move.

Five minutes later Thembi Kgatlane made a run towards goal but her shot inside the area was easily parried out for a corner by the alert Kenya goalkeeper, Poline Atieno Owino.

Nompumelelo Nyandeni and Sanah Mollo’s chances did not yield any positive returns in the 40th and 41st minute respectively as both teams went into the half-time break with no goals on the board as Kenya did not pose much of a threat upfront, seemingly content with playing for a draw.

The Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana returned from the interval with a mission to get a goal as Kgatlane made great runs on the flank, but her crosses in the box were easily dealt with by the Kenyan defenders.

It took a speculative cross from Ramalepe to break the deadlock late in the second half (75th minute). Her long range shot on the flank was mishandled by Owino – who had been solid in the match until that moment – and found the back of the net.

And that is how it finished, South Africa emerging victorious over Kenya – a much-neded win on Nelson Rolihlahla’s birthday, otherwise known as Mandela Day.

Banyana Banyana hold an advantage going into the second leg which will be played in two weeks’ time (Sunday, 2 August 2015) at the Machakos Stadium in the capital Nairobi.

The South Africans are expected to resume camp on Monday, 27 July to start preparations for the return leg.

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